More Masonic Purging Florida Style

We are told as Masons to avoid all sectarian religious discussion yet that is exactly what the Mainstream Grand Master of Florida Has done. In one written decision he has embroiled not only Florida Masonry, but Masons from all over the nation in a sectarian argument over religion, an argument that never should have come about.

Here are Mackey’s 19th, 20th and 21st Landmarks.

19. A belief in the existence of God.
20. Subsidiary to this belief in God, is the belief in a resurrection to a future life.
21.  A “Book of the Law” shall constitute an indispensable part of the furniture of every Lodge.

And here is how this all came about resulting in the resignation of Brother Corey Bryson of Florida.

My (short) Masonic Career
by Corey Bryson

I had considered for years becoming a Mason before ever taking the first step. I felt I was too busy, didn’t have the extra money, or otherwise just couldn’t commit wholeheartedly to the fraternity. I finally came to the decision in early 2012 that I wanted to pursue becoming a Mason. My life had finally leveled out and normalized. My kids were grown and had lives of their own. I also realized that I was losing my faith in humanity, and becoming jaded and cynical. I was hoping that Freemasonry would restore that faith and help me move along my path towards enlightenment.

PentacleSymbolI contacted my local lodge, filled out my petition and waited for the news. Unbeknownst to me at the time, a fellow Mason and co-religionist had casually mentioned to the Jr. Steward at my lodge that I was a Pagan. I’ve come to learn that there were numerous discussions among the officers of the lodge prior to my initiation as to my suitability for Masonry. They finally agreed to proceed. A home investigation committee came and visited my wife and I at our house. I was asked if I believed in “a God.” I said that I did. I was asked if I believed in the immortality of the soul and the resurrection to a future life. I said that I did. The lodge voted and scheduled my Entered Apprentice degree for May 17, 2012. I was then passed to Fellowcraft on August 2, 2012 (my birthday) and raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason on September 6, 2012.

During this time, another non-Christian was initiated into my lodge. He is an Odinist (and Tribalist) and has no hesitation mentioning his beliefs to anyone. At some point, his catechism instructor had a disagreement with him and allegedly criticized his religion. Tensions flared, the instructor was relieved of his EA class, but no further action was taken. The situation came to the attention of a DDGM, who proceeded to file charges against the instructor.

Ankh SymbolOn the night the charges were to be heard in lodge, the Grand Master of the State of Florida came to the lodge. The charges were read, and discussion commenced. Several brothers stood to defend the accused instructor and cast aspersions on the Entered Apprentice who was at the center of the issue. One brother stood and began stating that some of the verbiage used in the charges (and attributed to the instructor) were commonly used in Paganism, and therefore couldn’t have come from the instructor. Having a fairly deep knowledge base in Pagan religions and practices, I recognized this statement as false. I stood and made this known to the Brothers, admitting that I was a Pagan to lend validity to my statement. After the vote was tallied, the Grand Master stood and began to criticize the lodge for their practices, and proceeded to state that “Paganism is in direct conflict with Freemasonry. No Pagan should ever be initiated into the Craft.”

After the lodge was called to refreshment, I approached the Grand Master and stated that I must respectfully disagree with his statement. I proceeded to tell him that nothing in my religious beliefs were in any way contrary to Masonic Law. He proceeded to ask me if I believed in a monotheistic God. I stated that I did. He then asked if I believed in the immortality of the soul with the resurrection to a future life. I concurred. He then proclaimed that I had no Volume of Sacred Law upon which to take my obligation. I stated that I recognized the “truth” in all VSL’s, and have no issue obligating myself on any. We parted, still not seeing eye to eye.

A few weeks later, I received an email stating that I was to appear before the vigilance committee of my lodge by order of the Grand Master. I appeared before the committee with the assistance of a PM of my lodge who volunteered to assist me. I was asked again the questions relating to 32:16 of the Florida Masonic Digest, and again honestly answered the questions, in agreement with the Digest. I was asked if I was a Pagan, and explained that I used that term to describe my religious practices, but not my belief. Paganism is not Orthodox, and has no set doctrines. It is merely a blanket term for non-Abrahamic faiths. In definition of my beliefs, I stated that I was primarily a Deist. I was further asked if I could uphold Masonic Morality, as exemplified by the Golden Rule and the 10 commandments. I explained that the Golden Rule was a value to aspire to. Concerning the 10 Commandments, I had to educate the committee on the fact that the first 5 commandments were religious commandments that only really apply to Jews, but that the second 5 were values to aspire to as well.

The Committee concluded that there was no reason for further action in my case. Apparently the Grand Master was not satisfied with this decision, and proceeded to issue his Ruling.

After reading the ruling, I felt that I had no choice per my Master Mason Obligation other than to resign as a Mason. This morning, I went to my lodge and submitted my letter of resignation to the Secretary, along with my dues card.

I cannot express how disillusioned I am with Masonry in Florida. I have had communication with Masons around the country who are just as shocked and appalled as I am. I spoke with the Sr. Warden of the Lodge after submitting my resignation, and he repeatedly said that he wanted me to understand that the officers of the lodge did what they thought was the correct thing in accepting me for initiation. He refused to make any definitive statement as to his own feelings. He said that he understood why I was upset, and asked me if I understood where they were coming from. All I could say was that I did. I understood that they were coming from a position of Self-preservation instead of their Masonic Obligations. The amazing part is this man, the Sr. Warden, was so impressed with me as a man and Mason that he was talking with me about serving in the line as recently as a month ago!

Is this really what Masonry is about today? Have we slid so far from the ideals of our Masonic Ancestors that we now require petitioners to define their beliefs, making sure that they use the politically correct terminology? What happened to masonry helping to make good men better? My wife saw it in me in the past seven months. Unfortunately it seems that political infighting and wrestling for power supersedes the search for Further Light, at least in the Grand Lodge of Florida.

Once again we see White Anglo Saxon Protestant only Freemasonry rear its ugly head, a story that The Beehive has been repeating over and over again to the disbelief of many. There is a certain segment of American Freemasonry that wants it to be White only and Christian only. In so doing they have let into their ranks those who practice Christianity in white robes holding burning crosses.

The Mainstream Grand Lodges who look aghast at such practices refuse to do anything about it. They have allowed Freemasonry to be corrupted. They are responsible for the decline in Mainstream membership. All they need to do is declare such Grand Lodges as rogue Grand Lodges practicing bogus Freemasonry and pull recognition from them. The dirty laundry of these rogue Grand Lodges rubs off on the good ones and all of Freemasonry is poised to be flushed down the toilet.

We prefer to lend a blind eye to the lessons of PGM Frank Haas, Derek Gordon, Mike McCabe, Gate City Lodge No 2 of Georgia and others. If we just ignore all this and pretend it doesn’t go on, that it is really none of our business, then we can delude ourselves that everything is right within the world of Freemasonry.

But everything isn’t right and it won’t be until we are determined to make it so.

Freemasonry is supposed to be universal. It crosses across all economic. political, cultural and RELIGIOUS lines. All that most Grand Lodges require is a belief in Deity or a Supreme Being.

I am no authority on the Wiccan religion but friends who are of that persuasion tell me that while Wiccans can call on other spirits, there is only one Supreme Deity. They usually refer to this Supreme Beings as “The One” or “The All.”

Brother Corey Bryson answered all the questions his Lodge had about his religion twice. He said that he believes in one Supreme Being, the immortality of the soul and that he had no issues with any Volume of the Sacred Law. That should have been enough. But not for this Grand Master.

The Grand Master quoted only a small part of the ancient charge he refers to in his edict. Here is the complete text.

“A Mason is oblig’d by his Tenure, to obey the moral law; and if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist nor an irreligious Libertine. But though in ancient Times Masons were charg’d in every Country to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet ’tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is, to be good Men and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguish’d; whereby Masonry becomes the Center of Union, and the Means of conciliating true Friendship among Persons that must have remain’d at a perpetual Distance.”

What happened to “leaving their particular Opinions to themselves?”

The Grand Lodge of Florida F & AM has this to say on its website:

Do you believe in God?

No atheist can be a Mason. Masons do not care what your individual faith is — that is a question between you and your God — but we do require that a man believe in a Supreme Being.

Are you willing to allow others the same right to their own beliefs that you insist on yourself?

Masonry insists on toleration — on the right of each person to think for himself in religious, social and political matters.

“The fact that the builders of King Solomon’s Temple were of differing religions demonstrates that the exclusion of a man from the order due to a difference in opinion in his religious persuasion is certainly prohibited.”
Bro. Terence Satchell, Pietre-Stones

Paganism is not a formal religion but is a generalized term used to describe all non-Abrahamic beliefs. The Grand Master of Florida is saying that only Jews, Christians and Muslims can become Freemasons. That’s absurd and is a corruption of the traditions and long held beliefs of toleration and non conformity to any doctrine that Freemasons have held for Centuries. What about Deists who were Masons and who were instrumental in drafting the Constitution of this great nation? What about Buddhists and Hindus? If you go to India you will see five different Volumes of the Sacred Law on their altars. That is a testament to the universality of Freemasonry.

This Grand Master is codifying his own personal religious beliefs into Freemasonry thereby making the practice of Freemasonry in Florida no longer Freemasonry at all.

“It is impossible to make sense of this edict. The GM in Florida, clearly speaking from the kind of ignorance that should not exist at the highest level of any Masonic Order, seems to think that Pagan, Wiccans, Odinists, Agnostics and Gnostics all do not believe in a supreme being; which no doubt comes as a shock to a good many of those faiths. My guess is this GM is a hardline Christian who believes the definition of “supreme being” must always be the Abrahamic God. The fess-up-and-resign-or-face-a-Masonic-trial bit clearly indicates a witch hunt. Nice.”

“This ranks right down there with the Australian edict against esoterica study in Masonic Lodges.”
Brother and author Karen Kidd

Manly P. Hall summed it up this way:

“The true Mason is not creed-bound. He realizes with the divine illumination of his lodge that as Mason his religion must be universal: Christ, Buddha or Mohammed, the name means little, for he recognizes only the light and not the bearer. He worships at every shrine, bows before every altar, whether in temple, mosque or cathedral, realizing with his truer understanding the oneness of all spiritual truth. All true Masons know that they only are heathen who, having great ideals, do not live up to them. They know that all religions are but one story told in diverse ways for peoples whose ideals differ but whose great purpose is in harmony with Masonic ideals. North, east, south and west stretch the diversities of human thought, and while the ideals of man apparently differ, when all is said and the crystallization of form with its false concepts is swept away, one basic truth remains: all existing things are Temple Builders, laboring for a single end. No true Mason can be narrow, for his Lodge is the divine expression of all broadness. There is no place for little minds in a great work.”
― Manly P. Hall

Soon we will celebrate Christmas, a holiday with Pagan roots, incorporating pre Christian festivals that were celebrated around the winter solstice, why don’t we all send Grand Master Jorge L. Aladro, a little mind and a happy Pagan day card?

You can send him one, care of the Grand Lodge at 220 North Ocean Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202.

Posted in The Bee Hive and tagged , , .

Fred is a Past Master of Plymouth Lodge, Plymouth Massachusetts, and Past Master of Paul Revere Lodge, Brockton, Massachusetts. Presently, he is a member of Pride of Mt. Pisgah No. 135, Prince Hall Texas, where is he is also a Prince Hall Knight Templar . Fred is a Fellow of the Phylaxis Society and Executive Director of the Phoenix Masonry website and museum.


  1. Once again we see that some one left the west gate unguarded and more did not monitor the progress from master mason to grand master!
    Grand Master like some attorney and supreme court justices, believe they can interpret the moral law and legislate it.
    There is reason to purge the lodges, but it does not involve one beliefs in a supreme and everlasting God. The purging should begin with the investigation committees and continue through out our lives as masons. We were never meant o be LAW MAKERS. We are to follow the existing landmarks as pertaining to the state in which we live. The purpose of Freemasonry is to make men that understand the moral law and who are willing to live by it.


  3. This is yet another of many examples o how we have allowed our beautiful Order to fall into the hands of Ruffians. This Grand Master should be deposed. However, he is no worse than many others. Six successive GM’s of CT have declared their Obligations no longer apply to them (best lock up your wives, daughters, mothers and sisters). One of these six is an outright liar and all have engaged in a horrid conspiracy to damage the Craft. One of them has even outright declared Freemasonry to be a religion. We MUST rise up and take back our Fraternity from these clowns and start choosing good and capable Brethren as our leaders. Allowing persons like this FL GM to represent us is a sure path to oblivion.

  4. As a life long Christian (Lutheran), I have also an appreciation of other religions whether from attending the Bar Mitzvah of a schoolmate, Catholic funeral & wedding masses, an outdoor Quaker service, a tent revival, lectures on the Moslem faith by a Brother from Lebanaon, Mesquakie tribal ceremony, etc or just reading authoritive books. To be honest, I have little familiarity with Wiccan so will take some of the comments by the FL Brothers at face value. If indeed it is a deist rather than poly-theistic religion than it shares beliefs with some aspects of Protestantism (‘every man his own priest’) just as do the beliefs of Native Americans (some of whom have been & are active in Masonry for the past two centuries). Regardless, as Masons we too often are reactive rather that proactive. Given the rise of ‘new age’ religions in America, it would behoove GL’s to create study groups to discuss how to apply the Ancient Landmarks to ‘religion’. This also brings up another issue that no one has addressed in this commentary. ALL American GL’s state in their Constitution &/or By-Laws that they subscribe to the Ancient Landmarks but only a few delineate just what are those Landmarks. Mackey’s “list” is just that – one Mason’s list. You can find lists from other prominent Masons such as Pike, Rob Morris, et al who are oft-quoted – no two have the same ‘lists’. Perhaps the best source is the Ancient Charges but like the Bible & other sacred volumes, they are subject to change due to current word usages, improved translations, etc.
    I am bothered by an aspect of the article and several comments; i.e. possibly acting in the same unmasonic manner as they judge a GM or others to have done so. Recall this very topic is covered in our Obligations re: motives, relationships to Brothers, Masonic discourse, etc. Example:

    “Once again we see WASP only Freemasonry rear its ugly head….they have let into their ranks those who practice Christianity in white robes holding burning crosses.”

    I read nothing in the FL GM’s comments that mentioned race, ethniticity nor religion: i.e. whether the Brother is Black, White or Asian; Protestant or Catholic, etc. Ironically, from the GM’s name, I’d guess he is of Hispanic heritage & thus not a WASP. As Masons we are taught to treat our differences of opinion in a non-inflamatory manner. I may very well disagree with my WM or GM but I can couch my disagreements in words and tones that are Brotherly. Indeed what traditionally has set Masonry aside from the outside world, is our espousing rational debate rather than degenerating into name-calling, inuendo or inflamatory statements. Our historic enemies: the Inquisition, dictators of the right & left, religious fanatics, etc have hated us because we seek truth & do so in the manner of Brothers.
    Pretend you have no knowledge of Masonry, religion, etc and then reread all that has been written here AND elsewhere on this Fl (or Ark, WV or CT) situation. As you read, circle the verbs & adjectives that seek to incite as opposed to educate.
    With a little effort, any of us can make a VERY strong case for our particular belief IF we do so Masonically. If this situation was approached as a Masonic education ‘moment’ or for inclusion in a scholarly Masonic work or even as a ‘motion’ to one’s Grand Lodge in session, than more people would likely come over to you or my way of thinking & ultimately change would be made.
    So mote it be….

  5. I would like to see a local Fla. Mason bring this to the attention of the local media. Someone will surely cry “let’s not air our dirty laundry,” but Freemasonry eagerly courts the press for our good news–charitable donations, Kids ID, etc. It’s time we face some outside scrutiny, as GLs across the country have proven that we are woefully incompetent at addressing this internally with any lasting effect. A bit of public shaming would move us in the direction we need to go. The people of each state allow us to enjoy tax-exempt status through legislatively approved laws–we need to live up to what we profess to be.

  6. Here in Utah we faced a somewhat similar issue in regards to LDS (Mormons) being allowed to join. For many years, they were not allowed to become Masons in Utah because of their beliefs.

    Frankly, if a man can say “Yes, I believe in a Supreme Being”, as far as I am concerned he is eligible to join.

    Having someone say that members of certain religions can not join is not very Masonic at all. To insist that a Brother believes in a similar way to how you believe is wrong and in my opinion very Un-Masonic behavior.

    When you look at the Anti-Masonic views on the Fraternity, it boils down to “The Masons allow anyone who believes in any Supreme Being to join, ergo they do not hate other religions as we do, so they are evil”

    I don’t know if this was an effort in Florida to kowtow to the Anti-Masonic groups or just plain close mindedness, but it is most assuredly wrong in my opinion.

  7. …leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is, to be good Men and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguish’d…

    I’ll take “What is Irony?” for $500 please, Alex.

  8. Greetings Brother Edgar. The last we heard from you was your defense of the GL of Arkansas and its persecution of Derek Gordon. You remember all that fuss about clandestine liscense plates?

    Here we are again with another ringing defense of Confederate Masonry by you. The Grand Master of Florida may not have mentioned race in his religious edict. But he doesn’t have to. If you look at the history of the Mainstream Grand Lodge of Florida you will find a long tradition of racial discrimination.

    The plain fact is Confederate Masonry couples – White only with Christian only – and if you don’t see that then you are no student of history or you have blinders on.

    The Grand Master of Florida doesn’t have to say anything about race becasue his prejudice against other religions follows his prejudice against African Americans like peanut butter and jelly mate.

    You think you make points by pointing holes in an argument while overlooking centuries of discrimination that should be long gone today but isn’t. Instead of addressing the concerns you have resorted to name calling, stating that I and others use inflammatory language to incite othes.

    Nice try but it won’t wash!

  9. As a Druid, I have had no problems within the state of NY. I am very saddened by such news in FL. I just may compose a letter to him myself on behalf of the people of our craft. Thank you for sharing!

  10. A Facebook page has been set up to act as a place to raise awareness of this issue and to collaborate with the intention correcting the injustice of the Florida Edict. Brothers please visit and lend your ideas and words. To my Florida Brothers – you have much support from my part of the country. You are not alone. Brother Bryson – masonry is not what you have witnessed in Florida and we are working to set things right.

  11. This act is vile and should disgust any brother who believes in the tenets of our Craft. By the very wording of the “GM”s decision, all Scottish Rite brothers should also be expelled. Or does he not know about those degrees? Apparently, only those who take the vows of a Knight Templar in the YR should be allowed to remain in our order. This old guard of Christian Only ideology is dying off, for which I mourn the loss of brothers but celebrate the loss of this inane opposition to the esoteric heart of the Craft.

    I am a descendant of Albert Pike, I am a devout Gnostic (as many of our forefathers were), I am a good man and I am dedicated to uphold the obligations I took upon myself through each Degree . I refuse to acknowledge this pseudo-Mason and his hateful actions. He is a prime example of conduct unbecoming a Brother and should himself be expelled from the Craft.

  12. The behavior of this GM is appalling and repugnant…but to me, not a surprise. This same level of institutionalized intolerance drove a brilliant Mason away from the Craft in the early 1990’s. A Brother I brought to Masonry via the military lodges in Europe returned to the US and found work in FL. During his first visit to a US lodge, he was approached by members and asked if his military lodge was “one of those Lodges that allowed n*****s in”….he left and never returned. I, too, found the racial intolerance to be repulsive – American Freemasonry infected with small-minded bigots – and did not attend Lodge for years. I returned to the Craft in Colorado and am proud to say my Lodge’s altar is crowded with Volumes of Sacred Law. I count among Lodge members Catholics, Protestants of numerous denominations, Jews, Muslims, Pagans (Wicca, Odinist, Druids), Taoists, Hindi, Buddhists, Gnostic Christians, and Druze.

    To all Brethren: Remember the words of St. John: The Light shineth in the Darkness, but the Darkness comprehendeth it not.”

    Let’s support our Brothers who are being persecuted and pray common sense and the True Light of the Craft prevails.

  13. This is absolutely disgusting, and in no way representative of the goals of our craft. I am so thankful that I do not hail from anywhere in Florida. I was entered, passed, and raised in the state of NY, and I wish more than anything that you had been lucky enough to do the same. Florida’s GM’s decree is not only laughable, but downright disrespectful, biased, and unfounded.

    My thoughts are with you Brother, and as it was mentioned above, this WILL be made right.

  14. There is no room for paganism or anything besides Judeo-Christian principles in our lodge. I can’t speak to the work you guys learn but in Texas, our work is very Bible-focused. I don’t think it is focused enough and so I have conflicts with a lot of it but a Pagan believes things that fly in the face of the very teachings contained within the Bible we all obligate on, therefore, I don’t see why or how they would want to remain a member.

    Making Masonry all things to all people is how our message is so messy. We just don’t stand for specifics things, we are too vague, hence all the scrutiny from non-Masons.

  15. From “The Mother Lodge” by Rudyard Kipling:

    We’d Bola Nath, Accountant,
    An’ Saul the Aden Jew,
    An’ Din Mohammed, draughtsman
    Of the Survey Office too;
    There was Babu Chuckerbutty,
    An’ Amir Singh the Sikh,
    An’ Castro from the fittin’-sheds,
    The Roman Catholick!

    We ‘adn’t good regalia,
    An’ our Lodge was old an’ bare,
    But we knew the Ancient Landmarks,
    An’ we kep’ ’em to a hair;
    An’ lookin’ on it backwards
    It often strikes me thus,
    There ain’t such things as infidels,
    Excep’, per’aps, it’s us.

    For monthly, after Labour,
    We’d all sit down and smoke
    (We dursn’t give no banquets,
    Lest a Brother’s caete were broke),
    An’ man on man got talkin’
    Religion an’ the rest,
    An’ every man comparin’
    Of the God ‘e knew the best.

    So man on man got talkin’,
    An’ not a Brother stirred
    Till mornin’ waked the parrots
    An’ that dam’ brain-fever-bird.
    We’d say ’twas ‘ighly curious,
    An’ we’d all ride ‘ome to bed,
    With Mo’ammed, God, an’ Shiva
    Changin’ pickets in our ‘ead.

  16. To rttew –

    You should stay in Texas….should you ever venture to visit the GL of India, lodges in the Middle East, Asia, etc., you would feel extremely uncomfortable. Also, you should not join the Scottish Rite, as Bro. Pike’s rituals contain philosophical components other than Judeo-Christian.

    Attitudes such as this are why there is a fervent revival of actual Masonic education, versus just passing on what has been repeated over the years. Masonry welcomes all men of faith – any faith that espouses a belief in a Supreme Being – period. To even ask what that faith is crosses the line. Our obligations admonish us to guard against atheists – nothing else as far as a man’s beliefs. I am honored to sit in Lodge with any honorable, illuminated man of faith – regardless of what that faith may be.

    The attempts in certain regions to institutionalize the Craft as social extension of the prevalent religious denominations is what has diluted the ancient teachings, allowed many, many lodges to devolve into nothing more than men’s clubs with aprons, and has contributed to the tarnishing of American Masonry around the world. Happily, there are many other jurisdictions where the education of the individual Mason is prized, where tolerance is demonstrated at every meeting, and where the forcing of religious views is prohibited. The Craft has survived demagoguery in the past – we will survive this most recent instance.

  17. rttew says:

    December 5, 2012 at 7:46 am (Edit)

    There is no room for paganism or anything besides Judeo-Christian principles in our lodge. I can’t speak to the work you guys learn but in Texas, our work is very Bible-focused. I don’t think it is focused enough and so I have conflicts with a lot of it but a Pagan believes things that fly in the face of the very teachings contained within the Bible we all obligate on, therefore, I don’t see why or how they would want to remain a member.

    Making Masonry all things to all people is how our message is so messy. We just don’t stand for specifics things, we are too vague, hence all the scrutiny from non-Masons.


    Speaking from Texas, myself, I can say that any candidate can be obligated on the Holy Book of his choice.

    Freemasonry is a universal fraternity that accepts all religions. Apparently nobody taught you that or anything about Masonic tolerance. It is also apparent that you did not pay any attention to the ancient charge quoted in the story.

    In India and Asia that are literally thousands and thousands of Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Taoists, Jainists, Cofucianists, Shintos and others who are Freemasons. I gather that you would be in favor of expelling anybody who belonged to these religions.

    Freemasonry was set up to be inclusionary not exclusionary. What you are describing to me is a Redneck, Confederate corruption of Freemasonry.

    Let me ask you – how many African Americans are in your Lodge?

  18. What Makes a Man a Mason?…. by George M Free

    What makes a man a Mason, O brother of mine?
    It isn’t the due guard, nor is it the sign,
    It isn’t the jewel which hangs on your breast
    It isn’t the apron in which you are dressed

    It isn’t the step, nor the token, nor the grip,
    Nor lectures that fluently flow from the lip,
    Nor yet the possession of that mystic word
    On five points of fellowship duly conferred.

    Though these are essential, desirable, fine,
    They don’t make a Mason, O brother of mine.
    That you to your sworn obligation are true
    ‘Tis that, brother mine, makes a Mason of you.

    Secure in your heart you must safeguard and trust,
    With lodge and with brother be honest and just,
    Assist the deserving who cry in their need,
    Be chaste in your thought, in your word and your deed.

    Support he who falters, with hope banish fear,
    And whisper advice in an erring one’s ear.
    Then will the Great Lights on your path brightly shine,
    And you’ll be a Mason, O brother of mine.

    Your use of life’s hours by the gauge you must try,
    The gavel of vices with courage apply;
    Your walk must be upright, as shown by the plumb,
    On the level, to bourn whence no travelers come,

    The Book of your faith be the rule and the guide,
    The compass your passions shut safely inside;
    The stone which the Architect placed in your care
    Must pass the strict test of His unerring square.

    And then you will meet
    with approval divine,
    And you’ll be a Mason,
    O brother of mine.

  19. No, he represents a large segment of American Freemasonry I call Confederate Freemasonry – White only, Christian only. These Freemasons refuse to recognize Prince Hall. You can find them predominate in West Virginia and Arkansas and also in smaller numbers in Tennessee,South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. This is a redefinition of the Craft, a transforming of Freemasonry into something it was never intended to be.

  20. I would be curious to compare the age demographics of “Confederate Mason” jurisdictions to the others. It’s well known that the average age of Masonic Lodge members in the USA is past retirement age. (Average age!) This would correlate with the known political demographics of the GOP-leaning Red States, which explains the prejudicial attitude of these lodges. They are almost exclusively southern WASP Republicans, with all of the radical right-wing bigotry associated with their party today.

    This is why they are ultimately doomed. Clearly they’re determined to keep their exclusive “social clubs” to themselves. Why would a younger man, from the cohort of Generation X or the Millennials, who are vastly more politically and socially liberal, have any interest in joining their Lodges?

  21. Greg Starr wrote “To even ask what that faith is crosses the line” Bro. Greg I have to disagree with your comment. As a senior Past Master and secretary of my lodge I make it a practice to speak to every individual who makes application to my lodge. In the course of the conversation I ask what religion he practices. Why, let me give some reasons: the surnames Gordon, Everett, Smith, Ross, Shepherd and Bell all sound like mainstream Christian names, however every one of these were taken from headstones of the local Jewish cemetery, thus one cannot determine a mans religion simply from his last name. So fine he is Jewish, what type? is he orthodox? if he is then we have to realize that he does not kneel when he prays and will want to wear his kippah or yarmulke. What if the applicant practices the Muslim faith, what sect? Some will want the Torah to be handled by gloved hands and will not salute their VSL by kissing it, others have no problem with either. As a fraternity that welcomes men of all faiths we have a responsibility to treat that mans faith and customs with respect and decorum, but we cannot do that if we do not know what they are. It is up to us to ask the right questions and respond accordingly. One last example, two years ago we had a young man make application to my lodge and I made my customary phone call. In the course of the conversation I determined that the young man was of a faith that forbade their church members to join Freemasonry. I asked the young man if he was aware of his church’s stand on Freemasonry. He assured me that he had spoken with his Minister and his parents and everything was fine. I asked him to do me a favor and go back and confirm his information. Guess what, he didn’t come forward. If I hadn’t asked the correct questions and brought this information to his attention he would have been put in a difficult and embarrassing position with both his family and Church.
    With warm fraternal regards.

  22. Well well well. I was Masonically educated by my Grand father, a Worshipful in France and my Father a Brother in Paris,Fr. I have also knowledge of FM in France and Europe. First, the god name is NEVER MENTIONED IN LOGE; And there is no riddiculous prayers either. Note…there is no such thing as a stupid Atheist….I am not stupid nor any of my friends and acquaintances atheists are not stupid either. I love USA and I have been residing for almost 60 years, but… I noticed that most of my fellow American are terribly diseased…with…RELIGION! Lets start at square one, Fifthy thousand years ago, when the earth and sky had limits!! People were affraid of the storms, ouragans, heavy rains or lack of rain, so they invoked the SUN OR THE MOON the earth and the void for relief. Receiving no answers, they invoked some invisible spirits and even gave them form and NAMES!!!! In truth they just created GODS !!! Then some smart asses declared themselve PRIEST! and began to invent lots of skims to take money out of the dummy believers ! ORGANIZED RELIGION WAS CREATED. Nowaday the main reason existence is after life…..The common people do not want to die !!!! and are very afraid of what will become of them after death!!! Religion fixed all of that. GIVE US MONEY and you will be guarantied a seat facing the beautiful god !!!! for ETERNITY…. Yes two hundrere thousands of my fellow Americans believe that !!! They are affraid of the after death and they pay for it….Even my lawyer friend who was brainwashed when a child is AFRAID OF HIS AFTER DEATH !! Now the American FM forces you TO SAY…that you believe in god and the eternal life….. As I mentioned earlier, a very diseased country ! But I still love it. An I am a brother in NY. As for the National anthem I forgot the “under god” joke.We sent people to the sky,to the moon and they never saw any god around, and now the people who look at the stars, the astronomers never see any god on a throne either. ASk THE CHRISTIANS AND they WILL ANSWER THAT’S BECAUSE YOU ARE BLIND AND CANNOT SEE THEIR GOD !!!! but theY will assure you that their god is in heaven and some day THEY WILL GO TO HIM !!!! THEY WILL BE SAVED FOR ETERNITY….While you burn in hell!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Well welll well, Most Grand Loges in the US consider French Free Masons as illegals. This is an insult to intelligence, to LOGIC and Free Masonry, Its hilarious and sick !!!! F ∴ M ∴ concepts was created in France with the French Gothic Cathedral style, then the stone cutters went to Scotland and created Loges there, then the Brits got wind of it and Created the Hollywoodish English Free masonry. The three restaurants where the first Free Masons meet were french Restaurants, and most first members in London were French stone cutters, Then the Brits invited the priest !!!! the British were sailors not cathedral builders !!! And Americas inherited many Europeans grand Loges but the Brit London loge survived and did obliterated the others. NOW most US Grand loges declared French Masons “”ILLEGALS””It is an indecency, a joke and a stupid attitude. Washing ton and Benjamin Franklyn were FM and even Franklyn became the W ∴ of a L ∴ in Paris. But the F , Most Grand Loges in the US consider French Free Masons as illegals. This is an insult to intelligence, to LOGIC and Free Masonry, Its hilarious and sick !!!! F ∴ M ∴ concepts was created in France with the French Gothic Cathedral style, then the stone cutters went to Scotland and created Loges there, then the Brits got wind of it and Created the Hollywoodish English Free masonry. The three restaurants where the first Free Masons meet were french Restaurants, and most first member in London were French stone cutters, the British were sailors not cathedral builders !!! And Americas inherited many Europeans grand Loges but the Brit survive and did obliterated the others. NOW most US grand loges declared French Masons “”ILLEGALS””It is an indececy, a joke and a stupid attitude. Washing ton and Benjamin Franklyn were FM and even Franklyn became the W ∴ of a L ∴ in Paris. But the fWell welll welll, Most Grand Loges in the US consider French Free Masons as illegals. This is an insult to intelligence, to LOGIC and Free Masonry, Its hilarious and sick !!!! F ∴ M ∴ concepts was created in France with the French Gothic Cathedral style, then the stone cutters went to Scotland and created Loges there, then the Brits got wind of it and Created the Hollywoodish English Free masonry. The three restaurants where the first Free Masons meet were french Restaurants, and most first member in London were French stone cutters, the British were sailors not cathedral builders !!! And Americas inherited many Europeans grand Loges but the Brit survive and did obliterated the others. NOW most US grand loges declared French Masons “”ILLEGALS””It is an indececy, a joke and a stupid attitude. Washing ton and Benjamin Franklyn were FM and even Franklyn became the W ∴ of a L ∴ in Paris. But the Masonry of Benjamin Franklyn was NOT the Hollywoodish christianized stuff of what we experience nowaday in Loges around the USA!
    Oh yes, the horrible illegals French Masons,,,,,In the spirit of Voltaire, they accepted JEWS AND LATER NEGROES INTO THEIR LOGES, WHAT AN HORRIBLE CRIME….So the New York /Paris fraternal friendship ended !!!…..and later following the French Revolution these horrible people discarded for good the bible from their altars to be replaced by the LOGES CONSTITUTION !!!1 what a crime !!!! The USA are content with their antiquated religious organization and may be in one hundred years they will read of Voltaire. Only recently some Loges did accept African Americans! and now they even accept homosexuals!!! but they are called gays, so its OK!! But I love my Loge and my Brothers there, they are of all colors, all religions and of all sex persuasion. But there is NO PROBLEMS AND WE ARE ALL CLOSE BROTHERS AND LOVE EACH OTHERS. Atheists, homosexuals included no questions asked !!!! Fin !

  24. One more bigot doing bigoted actions. How is anyone surprised? The Grand Lodge system is rotten, that’s why it’s dying. Good riddance.

  25. @ Bro. Stuart: To clarify, I ask similar questions as Secretary of my Lodge, but not until the Brother is balloted on: otherwise, it is irrelevant. After that, it is a matter of courtesy. It should not go beyond that, save for education. There should never be a situation where a Brother is asked to “justify” his faith.

    @ de la Verriere: Nor was the Masonry in France in which Franklin or Lafayette participated the virulent atheistic Masonry of the Grand Orient.

  26. Everyone that’s commenting and reading should take due notice and contact their respective Grand Lodge to share their sentiments.

  27. My father a mason for 53 years just had to send in a letter of resignation – my grandfather who was a Mason until his death at 93 years of age would have had to have turned in his as well. Unless the bigot in charge wants to dig him up and take his apron I guess Grandpa got a pass. Both great men – nothing stupid or libertine about either. Just not Christians.

  28. As a Florida Mason, I must respectfully state this ruling by our Grand Master is ignorant, shameful and an embarrassment for all. It is UN-masonic in so many ways and on so many levels it boggles the mind. A good man who wants to be a better man, and who professes his faith and beliefs and meets all the criteria of: “Article XIII – LANDMARKS AND CERTAIN LAWS OF FREEMASONRY” should be welcome in any lodge and any mason, true to the tenets of our craft would be proud to sit next to him. Brethren, Masonry IS NOT a religion! nor should it be religious based and some in Texas believe. To do so corrupts what we are supposed to be and stand for.

    Fraternally, RJD-Florida

  29. WOW! Once again – shame on Florida (viz 2001). If that is what the state of Freemasonry is coming to, well then I am heading to Paris or Edinburgh! As a Highland Scot that meanders between Culdee Christianity, Druidism and Deism, I am glad that my State (Washington) is as far from Florida as it can get! I thank the Good God (or Goddess) that am not a Mason in Florida, as it sounds like my journey in the Craft would be a short trip! Bless Brother Corey Bryson of Florida. He sure will be welcome with open arms in MY Lodge! (Lodge Alba no. 315, Seattle
    I am a MM and a RAM.

  30. Those edicts don’t sound very christian or loving. A good man or women leads by example. An example that another person would aspire to emulate.

    Although what atheist believes in a supreme being?

  31. He sure will be welcome with open arms in MY Lodge!

    But not by your PGM Sanders, who has stated out on FB that he agrees with GM Aladro’s ruling.

  32. Then if he enforced his narrow-mindedness at the Lodge level (in 2011), my journey in the Craft would be VERY short.

    As my Lodge, which has a Celtic perspective – meets on or around the Celtic Cross-Quarter Days, I’ve often wanted to give the sitting Grand Master a tutorial on the Celtic Quarter Days, as most linear Anglo-type WASPs do not know what it is or understand it.

    BTW, as well as being the 12th Chieftain of my small yet war-like sept of Clan Shaw (The Shaws of Easter Lair, and the Shaws of Glenshee, Glenisla and Crathienaird), I also am the 22nd Chief’s Seannachaidh and Bard. Said Seannachaidheal position goes back to pre-Christian days.

  33. “Here in Utah we faced a somewhat similar issue in regards to LDS (Mormons) being allowed to join. For many years, they were not allowed to become Masons in Utah because of their beliefs….”

    Bro. Steven, I find that particular flavor of bigotry especially deliciously ironic due to the Mormon ritual’s strong basis in Freemasonry. I’m not a Mormon, but it’s commonly known that Joe Smith *was* a Freemason, and that’s why Mormons wear Masonic aprons in their ritual as well as squares and compasses on their ritual clothing.

  34. PTofMD,

    Where it gets REALLY ironic is that the surrounding Grand Lodges required the forming GL of Utah to ban Mormon membership before allowing formation of a GL of Utah…the 100 years later, they wanted to know why Utah didn’t allow Mormons to join.

    A few of the older members still think that mormons participate in a Clandestine Lodge every time they go to the LDS Temple

  35. The beauty of universal truth, that the grand architect created all that we are part of, and our ability to recognize this, is one of many things that makes the light of our craft shine so bright. The brotherhood of man. Moving forward and ever progressing towards the light. These are concepts that should be fundamental. If one who is petitioning can safely and surely say that he believes in The Great Spirit and that he has dedicated his life to becoming more true and upright in his quest for more truth and light, then who are we to question the path that has led him there? As many members of my church say, God works in mysterious ways. One must only judge the individual’s beliefs, as to whether they are in line with the true beliefs of masonry, one must not paint with a broad brush and reject potential brothers from the craft due to perceived differences based on broad assumptions about their faith. May God bless ALL those involved in this matter. And may light shine upon the path forward for those involved. God Bless. SMIB i-/G\-i

  36. Brother:

    I am deeply troubled to hear about this wrongdoing. It deeply offends my spirit to hear what was done in the name of masonry and I give you my word as a brother mason…this wrong will be the driving force for bringing about a deeper understanding and tolerance in masonry.

    I recommend that you stand up for yourself against this injustice and do not allow one misguided who is seeking to pervert Sacred and Masonic law by abusing his station to sway you from your purpose as a mason…which may be to become a worshipful master in your lodge.

    Please stand firm and stand up as doing this for yourself is doing this for all Masons.

  37. I ran into a problem where I sought membership about a month ago , and the GM of the Canadian Lodge Said he had spoken to the Grand Lodge of Canada , And said that I could not be a free mason Because I could not swear on a Holy Book consisting of only one Volume . That answer makes no sense to me as A Druid We see all faiths as having Value and having truth , I made my case with ( I will call him DP ) D.P saying I could swear upon any religious book because of my open view , His Reply was that it dose not work that way , one can not Just pick a religious book and swear upon it , it has to be of my religion . D.P did not even give me a chance to represent my case to the Grand Lodge of Canada myself He claims that he spoke with them . D.P was also upset at the fact that I was given info from non Canadian Masons , His view is that only a Canadian Mason has say in such matters , there for opinions of others that are not Canadian Free masons are invalid . Is there is anyone who can help me Please let me know what I can do .

  38. If anyone is still reading this we have to remember that all of our brother were shackled by their space in time. Yet they are still our brothers. Just like the writers of the great books were also shackled by their space in time as well. Who’s to say the lessons that any of them teach do not hold teachings to assist us all in our own daily lives. Sometimes brothers agree and sometimes they do not. At the end of the day they are still brothers.
    I am a Mason like my father before me and his father before him. I am also a brother in Florida in the same manner. What we strive to hold onto are the ideals and principles of what Masonry is. And they will always be the search for knowledge and enlightenment. On the journey we assist each other and try to make each other, as well as the world, better! Plain and simple! If you want to be hung up on the views of one or a couple that is certainly your choice but I understand the bigger picture. I share the knowledge that those ignorant brothers are simply men that are shackled by their personal beliefs in their time. Yet they are still my brothers even though I may not have the same restraints on or even though I have a different perspective. Because to gain an enlightened view of things you need every color of the spectrum to come together.
    We do make good men better. The new guard with the understanding of the world we live in is here and the regime of old will eventually step aside with their narrow minded views. They will be revered for the contributions they have made whether the opinion is good or bad. All we do is contribute all of us. So the brothers that come after us can enjoy the knowledge from our successes and our faults as a whole complete spectrum and continue our “Faith”.
    Which is simple, a faith in humanity guided by filial love, morality, friendship and brotherly Love.
    If you want to meet the real south Florida brothers and find out how we really feel come commune with us and I am sure you will be happy with what you discover. Our contributions to what is good and right with freemasonry continue.

  39. Unless and until the brethren of Florida rise up and exercise their masonic duty to expel the alleged “Grand Masters” who have acted so unmasonically, I consider the GL of Florida to be clandestine, and therefore, I cannot sit in Lodge with a FL brother.

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